4 Sep

What I learned selling $6,000+ of my ebook today.

At 6:00 AM this morning I hit send and waited. Within 10 minutes I had over $1,000 in my Gumroad account and it continued to grow throughout the day.

That email was to launch The App Design Handbook, my new book on designing beautiful iOS applications. I’ve been working on it for 3 months and had built up a pre-launch list of 795 people. Sending to that list is what sold the first $1,000 in books so quickly. Since then the sales have increased throughout the day to ~$6,000 where it is as I write this. Let me take you through my process.

The Launch Strategy

Everything I read about product launches said that you need to make a big splash when the product first comes out. So to do that I put together a plan that involved guest posts, giveaways, and gradually getting people to signup for the book.

Guest Posts

My original goal was 15 guest posts to all go live this morning, but unfortunately I was only able to get 5. A combination of being to slow to submit posts, flat out rejection, and other content issues left me with a handful of planned guest posts that were never published. The good news is that all the sites that hosted my writing today are really high quality, so I was honored to be featured. Here are the guest posts:

My Google Analytics tracking isn’t very refined, so it’s hard to tell where everyone came from. But it looks like so far all the guest posts combined have delivered less than 500 visits to my site. Considering the readership of many of these sites that seems small, though guest posts are more about building relationships than they are about driving traffic.

Email Lists

Last fall I started building up a couple email lists as I started releasing apps. Here are the three lists I sent to (ordered by relevance):

  • The App Design Handbook List: Everyone who signed up to hear when the book came out. Obviously you can’t get more targeted than this. Sent to 795 people.
  • iOS Design Weekly. This is my weekly iOS design newsletter that I’ve been running since last fall. It now has 1,000 subscribers. I sent the regular weekly email with tips and tricks, but prominently featured the book launch.
  • OneVoice Lite. In the lite version of my OneVoice app I have an option to signup for an email list. I am running a sale on OneVoice today ($50/off) so I mentioned the sale in an email to this list. I also included a small mention of The App Design Handbook. This list is not very targeted at all, so I don’t expect great results. It was sent to 1,600 subscribers.

Twitter

I asked a few friends to share the book on Twitter and it slowly spread from there. I’ve picked up over 200 new followers in the last week or two, so a lot of them were interested in the book. A lot of people tweeted about the book after purchasing it. Because traffic from tweets reports so many different referrers (and a lot of it comes as direct traffic) it is hard to tell exactly how many people came from Twitter.

 

 

Hacker News

In the past I have received a lot of visitors from popular Hacker News posts (including hitting the #1 spot with this post). Today I submitted the book landing page and waited to see if I’d hit the home page. Luckily (so much of it comes down to luck), I did and the post started climbing the home page. After about 20 minutes on the home page it randomly drop from spot #20 to #40 (on the second page). Usually posts climb and fall gradually, so I think the post was moderated to the second page. I could be totally wrong. In that brief amount of time I received about 600 visits from HN.

Reddit

I posted to the iOS subreddit (where I’ve been active in the past) only to have a single downvote and the post disappear. Oh well. I guess that wasn’t a good fit.

YouTube

I started a YouTube channel a few weeks ago, which is now up to 27 subscribers and 4,000 total views. I uploaded a lot of tutorial videos and a short iOS tips series. Generally they were well received, but none of them generated a lot of traffic. As with all of this I plan to take a long term approach and slowly build up my video tutorials.

Overall I don’t think YouTube drove a noticeable amount of traffic.

 

The Sales

Alright, this is probably why you came to read this article. You want to know the sales details. So far today I have sold $6,469.90 of The App Design Handbook. This comes from three different packages priced at $29, $59, and $129. Each one has additional resources included.

Having multiple price points is the best decision I made in this entire process. Take a look at the sales page to see what is included with each one. If I only sold the single package at $29 I would have grossed only $3,422 today. Just over half the revenue.

Take a look at this screenshot from Gumroad of the sales break down across the versions.

My goal was for the middle package (the first one to include videos) to be the best selling. If you look at the design you can see that the button for that package is more prominent than the others. For most of the day the middle package did sell the best, but late this afternoon a lot more people purchase the base package. Either way it is still a huge increase in revenue over just the base package.

I plan to continue to post more information about what I learned through this entire process. If you want to stay up to date you can subscribe to the RSS feed below.

My goal for today is $10,000 in sales. You should help me out by purchasing a copy of The App Design Handbook. So far the feedback has been extremely positive!

Update: I just passed $12,500 in sales. Thanks everyone!

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31 Responses to “What I learned selling $6,000+ of my ebook today.”

  1. Love how you share such detailed numbers. That is extremely beneficial to the rest of us looking to launch products.

    Well deserved success and look forward to reading more.

    David Damron
    BecomeaBeast.com


  2. Thanks for being so transparent Nathan. Best of luck!


  3. Great post Nathan! Thanks for showing us a peek behind the curtain :)


  4. Great post. Love the transparency.

    Also, a big fan of the page design here. Did you use a template landing page for WordPress or is this completely custom?


  5. Inspiring post Nathan .
    Thanks for sharing


  6. Thanks for sharing and being so open! Oh and congratulations of course!!
    You might have seen it already but if not, I found this article about pricing experiments quite interesting:
    http://conversionxl.com/pricing-experiments-you-might-not-know-but-can-learn-from/


    • That’s a great article btw. I was just about to post this in the comments when I happend to see that someone already beat me to the punch.


  7. Thank you very much for your honesty. It is very seldom that some one talks numbers!

    It is nice to see how well your eBook is doing.


  8. impressive work. Thanks for sharing!


  9. Josh says:

    Nathan, congrats on a very successful launch.

    What did you use to create to the PDF book?


  10. Thanks for sharing, Nathan!

    I also recently launched an ebook, and decided not to ask friends (and people I knew on Twitter) to help me promote the book through tweets. I wanted to, of course, but started wondering if that might appear to be abusing the trust, or putting them in an awkward position.

    In your case, how did you go about asking them? Also, did you just ask close, personal friends?

    i also plan to start publishing some articles about the process of creating the book, and the results, and feel good seeing you’ve done the same! Thanks again. :)


    • nathanbarry says:

      I just asked a handful of friends who I knew were interested. If you create something useful friends will be happy to promote it. Just ask.


      • HI Nathan, for the record, I owe you one. :-) I decided to ask a friend to mention my book on Twitter. He did, and we had a server meltdown, in a good way. :-) If you email me, I’d be happy to send you a complimentary copy of the book (if you’re by chance interested in the topic of investing.)


  11. Great article! I’m even more inspired to get some of my app ideas out there.


  12. Love this! I bout the $129 package… now I just need to figure out a way for work to flip the bill! lol


  13. Congrats Nate. I think you should do a talk about your experience here in Boise. It would be a great way to inspire others.


  14. You mentioned The App Design Handbook List. What was the pitch used? Any templates/screenshots? How did you collect and store the email’s of those interested.


  15. Nathan thanks for your reply, but I couldn’t find that signup page in your videos.

    Looking forward to your sales email letter. Thanks for the motivation!


  16. Viks says:

    Nathan, do you plan to release more info on the actual sales email?


  17. [...] I used to feel pretty good about myself, until I found out about Nathan Barry. Nathan published a design eBook too, but not only did he make more than twice as much as me, he also did it in half the time! [...]


  18. Jeff says:

    Hi Nathan ,

    May I have ur contact for a project discussion.

    Thanks

    Jeff


  19. Very inspiring Nathan, thanks for sharing especially the numbers!


  20. I wish I had a product one day that could make such amount of money… Well done Nathan!


  21. Hi Nathan,

    I am thinking written an ebook (in the real estate / property area) and found your post really interesting and relevant to my current position. I got basically lots to learn and lots of questions.

    I understand you must be really busy promoting your eBook but I would appreciate if you could answer briefly these 2 questions:

    - I am wary of the time needed to write the ebook: how many hours did you spend writing the ebook? i.e. was it worth the time spent writing it? Would you do it again?

    - I was thinking either going with Amazon using the Kindle format for their large audience or doing PDF solo download to keep all the profit. Why did you pick Gumroad?

    Thanks a lot for any help you can provide and good look with the eBook.

    Kind regards
    Marc.


  22. Stefan says:

    Hi Nathan,

    Really like your articles. You mentioned that you have a hard time tracking where your traffic comes from.

    I would recommend bitly to create the links you send out. It will tell you where the clicks come from.

    Thanks


  23. Hey Nathan,

    Very insightful information here. Just wrote my first eBook.

    Determining how to execute and launch it is probably one of the most tricky things I’ve ever done… feels like so much is at stake.

    Reading this and the other posts which you’ve done in collaboration with Sacha has FINALLY lead me to decide to set an official ‘release date’ and to schedule that a few weeks from now. Seeing as I can only do it once, I’d rather do it well.

    Cheers.


  24. […] Barry is the man. I launched my book about the same time Nathan launched his first book. He went on to launch other products and to be extremely successful. In his latest book he talks […]


  25. […] selling to his email lists, and asking friends to send out a tweet. (Read about Nathan’s full launch strategy here). This proves that you don’t need a huge following to make money with eBooks, but you DO […]


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